No Amount of Stimulus Can Replace Open Businesses, Available Jobs, and Kids in Classrooms
February 4, 2021 -
Today, the Committee is holding a hearing on what our economy needs to fully recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Republican members will discuss alternatives to President Biden’s misguided and outsized stimulus proposal, including following the science to safely reopen our economy and get Americans back to work.
Click HERE to watch Subcommittee Ranking Member French Hill’s (AR-02) Opening Remarks.
Read Subcommittee Ranking Member Hill’s Opening Remarks as Delivered:
“Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you for convening this hearing today.
“Let’s start with the facts. To date, Congress has provided nearly $3.8 trillion to support the economy. This included direct payments to individuals, assistance for small businesses, rental assistance, support for frontline workers – among many other strategies.
“This was a tremendous, and often bipartisan, effort that has provided a bridge for Americans reeling from this dual health and economic crisis.
“Now, thanks in large part to Operation Warp Speed and Congress’ actions, vaccines are being distributed. To be clear, we are not out of the woods yet, but we are on the right path.
“Today, we’re discussing what our economy needs to fully recover. I think the answer is clear: The best way to support the economy now is to reopen it safely.
“No amount of stimulus can replace open businesses, available jobs, and kids in the classroom.
“We should continue to be thoughtful and deliberative.
“I think we can all agree, the CARES Act was the right response at the right time. We were all facing an enemy that we knew nothing about. Since then, Congress has come together on five separate occasions to support families, individuals, workers, and small businesses.
“In fact, just at the end of December, just over a month ago, we came together and put an additional nearly $1 trillion in additional relief through the Congress, signed into law. This $900 billion package was money to be spent across our country – has yet to be spent. Just one month later, that money has not yet seen its full impact in our economy and for our families.
“Today, unlike ten months ago, we have the benefit of real data and the facts guide us in driving better policy outcomes.
“Last Tuesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that despite the surge in positivity rates throughout the summer and fall, states that were open – and open safely – had better employment rebounds than in those states that were “locked down.”
“In fact, employment increased in 15 “open” states. California, in comparison, lost more than 52,000 jobs. Michigan lost more than 64,000 jobs just to name a few. In my own home state of Arkansas, our unemployment rate fell to 4.2% in December from the peak in May of 10.8% — our tax revenues are up.
“What does this data tell us? It tells us that states can reopen safely. It also tells us if states aren’t open, businesses cannot operate. If there are no businesses, there will be no jobs for individuals to come back to.
“Our focus should be on how best to safely reopen our economy. That means more testing and faster vaccine distribution to keep our communities healthy. It may mean more funding to ensure front line workers have the supplies they need to stay safe.
“At the same time, we need to make sure that additional funding will have an impact on Americans who need it the most. There are families and individuals who are hurting from the lockdowns. We should be targeting assistance to get them back into the workforce, not just creating more bureaucracy and throwing money at this critical problem.
“We should mirror the bipartisan compromise and serious legislating that went into the CARES Act and the other four bills that were enacted last year — not spend time deliberating a partisan, wasteful, not-targeted 1.9 trillion-dollar stimulus bill.
“The data is pointing us toward what the economy needs. Now let politics get out of the way, and let us get to the work of providing the targeted help we do.
“Again, let me thank the Chair for holding this hearing.
“I yield back the balance of my time.”
- Clarence Anthony, CEO and Executive Director, National League of Cities
- Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
- Janet Murguía, President and CEO, UnidosUS
- William Spriggs, Chief Economist, The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
- Dr. Michael Strain, Economist, American Enterprise Institute
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